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Books and Recordings

Recent publications from alumni, faculty, and staff


The Basswood Tree and Other Poems by Ed Rossman '69 (PhD). Tallcot Bookshop (Union Springs, N.Y.) 1998. 39 pp., $5.95.
The author's poetry has been published in Exquisite Corpse, The Lyric, The New York Times, Voices International, The Formalist, and other publications.

Collecting Picture and Photo Frames by Stuart Schneider '72. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 1998. $39.95.

Introduces the reader to the history of frames and a broad sampling of framing styles from the early 1800s through the 1940s. Illustrated in more than 400 color photographs, the book is the first of its kind to show the variety and magnitude of both wall frames and table top frames in detail and full color. Different frame materials are described, along with information on identifying and dating pieces. A price guide also is given for each item.

The author is a practicing attorney who has written a dozen books on collectibles and antiques.

Historical Dictionary of School Segregation and Desegregation by Jeffrey Raffel '66. Greenwood Press 1998.

The author is director of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Maryland.

Ingredients, poems by Andrew Gottlieb '92, illustrated by René Mogensen '93. Iowa State University Press 1998. 28 pp.

A chapbook of verse and prose poems matched with artwork by Mogensen. The theme developed from the author's 10 years of working in restaurants: "Food," he writes, "is a central element in all our lives, and many of our conflicts and successes occur in the kitchen and over meals. In my life, as I became more interested in cooking and our meals, I began to realize how much of our interaction occurs around food."

Lead Generation Handbook by Robert Bly '79. Amacom 1998.

Describes how to generate sales leads. Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in business-to-business, high-tech, and direct-response marketing. This is his 40th book.

Night Bloom: A Memoir by Mary Cappello, former assistant professor of English. Beacon Press 1998.

Describing the Italian roots of her family, Cappello writes of the marks left by immigration and assimilation.

Origins and Development of Schizophrenia: Advances in Experimental Psychopathology edited by Robert Dworkin, professor of anesthesiology and psychiatry, and Mark Lenzenweger. American Psychological Association 1998.

Threshold, poems by James Longenbach, Joseph Henry Gilmore Professor of English. University of Chicago Press 1998. Phoenix Poets series.

Through metaphoric gates, doorways, and end points, the volume explores changes in perception and rediscovery of the mundane when crossing the edge of the familiar. Writes poet laureate Robert Pinsky: "Threshold stands out among first books of poetry for its intelligence and thematic coherence: this is a book about fear, particularly the fear that outside of a charmed circle of normality disaster waits. The subject is treated without melodrama on one side or complacency on the other."

This is Longenbach's first collection. He is author also of four books of literary criticism.

Trace Elements, poems by Barbara Jordan, associate professor of English. Penguin Books 1998. 64 pp., $14.95.

Jordan's first book, Channel, won the 1989 Barnard New Women Poets Prize. Carl Phillips says of this one, "Trace Elements reads like a hymnal for the nuclear age--that elegiac, and that persuasive."

Trail Ways, Path Wise: An Appalachian Trail Through-Hike by John Illig '86. Windswept House Publishers 1998. 185 pp.

For more on Illig's adventures on the trail, see Alumni Gazette.

The United Nations and the United States by Gary Ostrower '70 (PhD). Twayne Publishers 1998.

Surveys Washington's love/hate relationship with the UN from 1940 to 1998. Historian William Steuck of the University of Georgia calls the book "an extraordinarily well-written survey" that should become "the first stop for those seeking to understand the complex and tumultuous relationship between the United States and the world's leading power."

Ostrower is professor of history at Alfred University.


The Best of Gemini. Sandor '71 and Laszlo Slomovits '71 release a 25th anniversary CD of the duo's original songs for children and families.

Bright in All of Us, selections for children and families by Laszlo Slomovits '71.

Sonata Cho-Cho San. Features Webster Trio Japan members Leone Buyse '68E, flute; Michael Webster '66E, '67E (MM), '75E (DMA), clarinet; and Chizuko Sawa, piano. Nami 1998.

Songs of My Family, Songs of My People, compositions by Sandor Slomovits '71, as well as traditional songs in Yiddish and Hebrew.

Opus One: Terrestrial Music. Double concerto for solo violin, solo piano, and strings by Mary Jeanne van Appledorn '66E (PhD).

Tour de France: Bizet, Debussy, Fauré, & Saint-SaÎns, selections by the Webster Trio--flutist Leone Buyse '68E, clarinetist Michael Webster '66E, '67E (MM), '75E (DMA), and pianist Katherine Collier '72E (MM). Features Webster's arrangements for flute, clarinet, and piano. Crystal Records 1998 CD356.

Wa Copenhagen Bound, music of Johnny Russo '66E, performed by René Mogensen '93 and David Remington '81E (MM). East Hill Music Group & Wassard Co. 1998.

Joan Shelley Rubin, professor of history

Joan Shelley Rubin studies American culture with a focus on literary production and reading practices. Her well-received 1992 book, The Making of Middlebrow Culture, explored the creation of book clubs, "great books" programs, and other avenues that forever popularized the humanities in the first half of this century. She has co-edited the last of a five-volume series, A History of the Book in America, that takes a look at print culture in the century's second half. She also studies how poetry reading and memorization strengthen family bonds and provide comfort in a quasi-religious way.

A Guggenheim fellowship allowed Rubin to further probe this transmission of ideas and values in American society. She took a year's leave in 1997-98 to write a book on poetry's public dimension and the practices of American readers from the mid-19th century to the present.

Rubin still finds time to read for plain old pleasure.

"It happens every year," Rubin muses. "Throughout the winter, I mentally note books to take on my annual Cape Cod vacation, and then, the day before the trip, I discover that I can't remember any of the titles. I end up running over to the Brighton Memorial Library and grabbing whatever comes to hand.

"This haphazard procedure nevertheless sometimes yields good results, such as the following."

The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, Random House, 1997.

"This novel exemplifies my preference for fiction writers who employ highly crafted language. The plot, which concerns generational and class relations in India, includes a character educated at the University of Rochester in ornamental horticulture!"

The Ghost Road, by Pat Barker, Dutton Books, 1995.

I seem to be reading in reverse order this moving British trilogy about World War I, which mixes real historical figures and fictional characters. This is the final volume. Class is a subject here as well, as are the complexities of relationships, which the author handles with great psychological insight."

The Age of Consent, by Geoffrey Wolff, Knopf, 1995.

"This novel seems to me to get exactly right the phenomenon of counterculture leftovers in the aftermath of the 1960s. It also contains an element of suspense that makes it a page-turner."

Ship Fever and Other Stories, by Andrea Barrett, W. W. Norton & Co., 1996.

"I know that Barrett, our Rochester-area National Book Award winner, recently brought out a new novel. But I'm one book behind, and, anyway, I loved the clear-sightedness about human experience and the scientific backdrop that characterize these stories."

The Junkyard Dog, by R. Wright Campbell, New American Library, 1986.

"As a historian of reading, I've asked myself whether listening to a book on tape is the same as turning pages. In any event, this mystery, set in Chicago, is filled with endearing details about ethnic neighborhoods and Democratic ward politics. It made the trip to the Cape a lot shorter."

"In addition to rummaging through recently published books, I always try to revisit some I've valued for years. In this category are two that have shaped my approach to American cultural history."

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee and Walker Evans, 1941 (reprint Houghton Mifflin, 1989).

"This classic began as a 'documentary' about Alabama tenant farmers. Although I don't have as much patience for Agee's convoluted, self-conscious prose as I did when I was 21, I still take to heart his poignant reflections about the moral dilemmas involved in conveying the pain and dignity of other people's lives."

Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson, 1919 (reprint Signet, 1993).

"The critic Malcolm Cowley remarked that Anderson's writing was 'desperately uneven,' and he was right. But these spare, perceptive stories of people struggling to connect to one another comment on the human condition as much as on their late 19th-century, small-town locale."

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